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Forsyth County Schools to pay $3.3M for site of future elementary school
Forsyth County Elementary School 23 082319 web
Rendering of the proposed Forsyth County Elementary School No. 23.

While construction is already underway at East Forsyth High, Hendricks Middle and Poole’s Mill Elementary schools, the Forsyth County Board of Education laid the groundwork this week for another new school project that will be built in west Forsyth in the upcoming years.

At the August Board of Education meeting held Tuesday, members unanimously approved a contract to purchase 42.496 acres of land on Castleberry Road, just north of Bethelview Road, for the future home of the county’s 23rd elementary school.

According to Tim Amerson, Director of Planning for Forsyth County Schools, the land will be purchased for $77,950 per acre for a total $3,312,563. When completed, the new school will relieve overcrowding at multiple schools in the west Forsyth cluster.

“Our target is Whitlow, Midway, Shiloh Point and Vickery Creek elementary schools; this is almost in the cluster of those four,” Amerson stated to the board on Tuesday.

Getting crowded

The Forsyth County Board of Education wants to build a new elementary school in the west part of the county to relieve overcrowding at a cluster of schools in the area. A look at the student capacity numbers for each of the schools:

School                  Capacity               Enrollment        

Midway                 625                     801

Vickery Creek    1,025                     1,280

Whitlow               1,150                     1,359

Shiloh Point        1,175                     1,317

Source: Forsyth County Schools

After the meeting, Forsyth County Schools Director of Communications Jennifer Caracciolo said that all four of the schools mentioned by Amerson are about 200 students over capacity.

"That is the building capacity and that is the enrollment as of today," Caracciolo said. "This school is going to open up three years from now, so that's what our needs are based on. You already have schools that are over capacity right now and by the time the new school opens, they will be over capacity enough to populate a new school."

Caracciolo said that one point in the recent past, growth was heaviest in the county's south end, but over time that growth has moved more and more towards west Forsyth, forcing the county to react.

“That's why we've opened up Denmark High School and built it out to full capacity," she said.

Amerson later said that since the land purchase agreement has been approved, the county will close on the property in mid-September. Then will come the long process of planning, bidding, site development and construction, with a proposed opening in August 2022.

Elementary school 23, along with East, Hendricks and Poole’s Mill, are funded through the school bond that was approved by voters in May of 2018, which included more than $282 million for new facilities projects.